Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Food and Nutrition Services


Nutrition and Hospitality Management

First Advisor

Melinda Valliant

Second Advisor

Yunhee Chang

Third Advisor

Teresa Carithers

Relational Format



This quantitative research study explores the relationship between dietary patterns, hiker demographics, and total miles hiked during a backpacking trip on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Long hiking distances, low rate of thru-hike completion, consumption of processed and ready to eat foods, weight loss, and large time and monetary strains are comthemes accepted anecdotally by the backpacking population11. However, these themes have yet to be adequately researched and validated for long distance backpackers and PCT backpackers specifically. The online survey gathered data from 151 backpackers who hiked the PCT in 2015. Significant positive correlational relationships were found between the number of times per day the participants ate ready to eat commercially prepared foods, and total miles hiked (r(151) =.198, p =.015), times per day participants ate commercially prepared foods that needed to be cooked, rehydrated, or prepared before eating, and total miles hiked (r(151) =.171, p =.021), and finally the average amount of water consumed in liters per day, and the total miles hiked (r(151) =.188, p =.021). Participants who were out of work by choice also had a significant relationship to total miles hiked, compared to other employment statuses (r(151) =.182, p =.025). Hierarchical regression analysis revealed that, there were significant predictive relationships between miles hiked, ready to eat foods that were home made, commercially prepared foods that needed to be cooked, rehydrated, or prepared before eating, average daily water intake, and hikers who were out of work by choice. All findings are indented to stimulate further research of dietary habits and their relationships with hike outcomes among this population.

Included in

Nutrition Commons



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